Back in November – and holy crap, that was only a month ago – Donald Glover released his first studio rap album under the name Childish Gambino, Camp. I have never been one to be particularly fond of rap, but I really like Donald Glover – between his work on Community (#sixseasonandamovie), 30 Rock and Derrick Comedy, he’s one of the few entertainment names whose sole presence would motivate me to view/listen his work. So I decided to listen to Camp, after suggestions from several friends.
This is where the trend starts: I liked it. No, loved it – it’s a great album.
“Bonfire” is wonderfully incendiary. “Heartbeat” has an incessantly catchy hook. “All the Shine” and its symphonic sounds are mesmerizing. Incredibly clever lyrics litter the entire album. I’ve been listening to it quite constantly, lately, and I’m glad I did, even if I’ve never liked rap before.
On the tails of that musical revelation, I’ve had others – completely independently of each other – tell me that I should listen to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I was far more hesitant to make this leap – I like Donald Glover and he seems like a really cool guy. Kanye West, however, is an unabashed douchebag – his word, even. Between his general sense of “I am the best ever” and “Imma let you finish”, I had no reason to like him. That said, I had only ever listened to one of his songs fully – “Stronger” from Graduation. I was introduced to this song during the shooting of a music video for the song (I’ll throw it at the bottom of the page; Ryan did a great job with it, you should watch it), and for days after each shoot I would have the hook stuck in my head and eventually the verses would echo. I assumed it was repetition and didn’t give it much though.
But with this resurgence of Kanye recommendations, I gave My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a listen. And I liked this one, too. In this case, the standout is “All of the Lights”, which I really, really like (“POWER” is great too) – and contains that same sort of symphonic sound.
So I’d like to amend my previous statements regarding rap: it turns out I do not hate all rap, but rather only a specific type of rap: most rap. I think it is, at this point, a safe statement that you will not hear me ever sing the praises of Eminem (figuratively, because if you hear me sing you won’t hear anything ever again) – and certainly not the abrasive Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. But select Kanye and Gambino songs (and, if you are kind enough to recommend me songs along the same lines as the ones I indicated I liked here, perhaps those as well)? Heck yeah.